Global warming is an undeniable fact.
Unfortunately, though, we live in a world where alternative facts are available. It’s a world where people don’t just choose the news they want but also choose the facts they want. It’s a world where the best way to avoid a problem is by ignoring it. It’s a world where business and corporate interests trump human security and the sustenance of the beautiful planet on which we live.
Yet, even in such a world, there are some things where you just cannot look away. Strange weather events caused by climate change are one such reality. You may choose to believe or not in climate change but you can’t ignore a wildfire outside your door. 2016 was a year of many such events. These are the events that will make anyone a believer in climate change.
1. The melting of the polar ice caps
There’s nothing new about the melting of polar ice in the summers. It’s a natural phenomenon. But what makes this year so unique is that the temperatures recorded in the Polar Regions were significantly higher than the average. For instance, the temperatures in the Arctic in December were a massive 30 degrees above the average for that time of the year.
2. Early storms
Storms, cyclones, and other wind events are somewhat of a routine when you’re looking at the big picture. But, in 2016, storms struck before their season. In fact, Hurricane Pali was the earliest storm on record for the central Pacific region.
3. Record coral bleaching
One of the impacts of increasing global warming is higher sea surface temperatures. This, combined with El Nino events in the Pacific, is extremely destructive for the coral reefs under the surface. Last year was the worst when it came to coral bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef, with 22 percent of the corals not being able to survive the change in temperature.
4. Strong storms
Some of the storms, recorded in 2016, were not just strong. They were some of the strongest in history. Typhoon Meranti, for instance, was one of the most powerful tropical cyclone in history. Typhoon Lionrock, on the other hand, was the worst natural disaster in North Korea’s history.
5. Severe floods
Heavy rainfall and extreme floods caused catastrophe in many parts of the world. Hurricane Hermine was the first such event to make landfall in Florida in the past 11 years. Floods in China caused more than $10 billion in damages. 2016 also had the second-wettest winter in Australia.
6. Extreme heat
One of the worrying consequences of global warming is the recurrence of some of the hottest days on record. But even more worrying than that is the speed at which existing records are being broken. In Australia, for instance, the record hot day is now being observed 12 times faster than record cold days since 2000.
7. Hottest months and hottest year
Another heat record to consider here is that of the hottest recorded month and year. According to many estimates, 2016 is one of the hottest years in history if not the hottest one. July also entered the record books as being the hottest month in history.